We have frequently been inundated with questions of “How did you start your blog?” or “What made you start your blog?” Although there is some info in our About Us section, this post is a dedicated answer to these specific questions.
What made us start our travel blog? We’ve always wanted to document our travels somehow which we originally started on YouTube. Over time, we wanted to get into something deeper which is writing about our travels and sharing our photos. We started this blog off as a personal diary of sorts and if people loved it that would have been even better. Now, we are trying our best to give the most useful tips and recommendations whether it be travel directed or lifestyle oriented (even though we still use it as a diary for ourselves and family members). If you travel often like us, the best thing to do these days is publish it on the web, after all, we are living in the social media generation. Although we’ve only been blogging for 18 months, Mary has been doing YouTube for over 5 years and has had a couple blogs on Blogspot so she learned from that and started our very own, Travel Blog!
How did we start? Here’s 8 easy steps to start travel blogging:
1. Choose a Unique Blog Name
This is probably the hardest part about starting a travel blog or any official social media handle for that matter. You need a name that is unique, relatable to what your blog is about and something that will last with you. Even better if it’s a catchy one.
It took us a few days to think about our blog name. We both were giving out ideas on what it should be, throwing out names with Travel, Wanderlust, Wandering, Vacation, etc. We talked about what our blog will be and we based our name on that. We said that it will document our travel and our life. After a few days, we came up with Wanderlustyle = wanderlust and lifestyle together. “Wanderlust” meaning a strong desire to travel and “style” which is short for lifestyle. A lifestyle to travel. A lifestyle to wander. In other words: A traveler’s lifestyle.
Tip: scout other social media platforms before you turn your name into a site, you want to be consistent (as best) across all platforms. If a name is taken on Instagram but available as a site name, maybe make your handle a little different or ask kindly for that user to change their name. Some names are even bought but if you can, just be as unique as possible! It’ll make things easier.
2. Host Your Blog from the Start
What is web hosting? “It is the activity or business of providing storage space and access for websites.” Pretty much renting a space on the World Wide Web. All sites use a platform/host. Choosing a company to web host with is tough, being that there are many to choose from. For our blog, we use Bluehost because of its great rates. Also, if you host with them, they give your Domain Name (name of your website ie: wanderlustyle.com) for free.
Here’s a step by step on how to get hosted:
- Go to Bluehost and click “Get Started Now“.
- Then it will take you to a page where you can “Select your plan“. Which gives you 3 options: Basic, Plus, and Prime. I suggest going with the Basic plan and once your blog grows, then you can always upgrade to Plus or Prime. Then once you’ve decided on a plan, click “Select”.
- After choosing your plan, now it’s time to see if your domain name is available. This where your unique blog name comes inn hoping that it’s not taken. That’s why it’s important to come up with something unique. If it’s available, hooray!
- Next, fill out your details under Account Information and select your boxes under Package Information. The Account Plan offers: 12 months – $6.95/month, 24 months – $5.95/month, and 36 months – $4.95/month. Keep in mind that the longer you host, the cheaper the account will be.
In just a few minutes, you’re finished setting up hosting your blog!
3. Install WordPress
Once the Bluehost registration is over, it’s time to Install WordPress.
WordPress is a web software where you can use to create your beautiful website. It’s used by many travel bloggers and most notable big name brands such as BBC America, The Official Star Wars Blog, MTV News, Best Buy, and many others.
Need a step by step on how to Install WordPress? Look no further!
- First, log into your Bluehost account. Under Hosting, click cPanel. Then on the Website Builder section, and click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
- Then it will bring you to a page where you will click “Get Started”.
- Next you will select domain for Installation. Click the down bar menu and select your Domain Name and click “Next”.
- Lastly, it will take you to the last page “Installation Settings”, where you have your Site Name, Admin Username, and Admin Password, then click “Install”.
Once WordPress is installed, you should be able to type in your Admin URL and log in with your username and password you had from the last screen.
4. Customize Your Blog Theme
The hard part is over! Now for the fun part, customizing your blog! This is where you can choose your theme and start seeing your blog come to life.
WordPress offers numerous free themes but if you want to be able to customize it, then you’ll have to invest in a professional theme which we did for our blog. Here’s a few that we visit often if we want a new theme:
Did you ever come across a blog and fell in love with the theme? You can find out where they got the theme from at the very bottom of their website. This isn’t always the case, sometimes bloggers remove it. You can always go to WP Theme Detector and type in their blog URL, it will tell you what theme they have installed.
5. Install Useful Plug-ins
Your site is almost good to go! Adding WordPress plug-ins will help improve the functionality of your site and give you specific features. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Askimet: Having your website, comes a lot of spam comments. This will help protect your blog from it.
- Contact Form: This is a simple contact form that will directly go to your WordPress inbox.
- Digg Digg: An easy way for people to share your post on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms.
- WP Touch: Installs a mobile friendly theme so that readers with smaller devices can read without having to zoom in or out of your blog. If you have a responsive theme for mobile then you won’t need this.
To add plug-ins to your blog, go to your “Dashboard”, click “Plugins”, and “Add New”.
6. Write an “About Me”
Yes, a page all about you. Aside from your home page, this is one of the most visited pages because readers will want to know who is behind it all. It’s important so make sure you introduce yourself and for starters, answer these questions: Who (who are you?), What (what is this site about?), Where (where are you from and where are you now?), When (when did it start?), Why (why are you doing it?).
Include a photo of yourself, let readers know what inspired you to start blogging. We like to read about other people on their blogs so make it as “you” (be open) as possible.
7. Secure Social Media Handles and Network
Now that you have your travel blog, Hooray! Get on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and sign up. This is where you’ll be sharing your latest post, where you’re traveling to next, etc. Don’t forget to connect your social media to your website as well!
Networking on social media platforms helps to spread the word about your blog. This is where majority of your readers will come from. Also, staying in touch with your readers is important to build your travel community.
8. Start Blogging & Stay Consistent!
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for: start documenting your adventures and travels. There’s no specific way of doing this, just add “new post” and you can begin. This is your blog, you make the rules!
Disclaimer: This post contains a few affiliate links that will help out our blog. If you feel the need to show your support, feel free to use our affiliate links. Thank you!